same approach to accounting for uncertainty is used in estimating external beta dose to the skin or lens of the eye.
The committee reiterates that an approach of relying on “high-sided” assumptions to estimate credible upper bounds of possible doses, rather than an approach involving a quantitative analysis of uncertainty in a central estimate, is a reasonable way to address uncertainty. Furthermore, an upper bound so obtained is appropriate for use in evaluating claims for compensation. However, it is a valid approach to addressing uncertainty only if estimated doses are indeed “high-sided.” That is, on the basis of available information and scientific judgment, there must be a high degree of confidence that calculated internal doses do not underestimate actual doses to participants.
Thus, an evaluation of methods used in the NTPR program to estimate internal doses to atomic veterans essentially involves an assessment of the extent to which the methods are likely to overestimate doses. The committee’s evaluation of the methods of estimating internal dose is presented in Section V.C.
Although many participants have received a dose assessment from the NTPR program based on film-badge data in their medical records or their unit’s generic dose reconstruction, VA may request a formal dose reconstruction from DTRA to evaluate a claim for compensation (see Section III.B). A veteran may also request a detailed dose reconstruction by directly contacting DTRA. An individual dose reconstruction attempts to determine all possible pathways and sources of exposure for the participant on the basis of his military records and personal statement. The analyst reviews the assumed exposure scenario for the participant and modifies or recalculates the unit dose reconstruction according to the time exposed (which may have differed from the time assumed in the generic reconstruction), special duties or missions, available film-badge data, and so on. The analysis and dose estimate are reported in a detailed memorandum that specifies the assumed exposure scenario, exposure rates and decay rates, references to the applicable unit dose reports, and any other analysis methods applied (see Section IV.G.1). If the participant was exposed at various times and places, the memorandum reports the estimated dose from each exposure and sums the individual doses to determine the total for all exposures from all test series that the veteran participated in.19 The neutron dose in rem is added to the estimated whole-body gamma dose, and the total is reported to VA or the veteran when an external dose is reported.